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Understanding and Managing Thyroid Disorders- By the best thyroid dietitian, Deepika Chalasani

CASE STUDU & SUCCESS STORIES


Thyroid hormone controls our metabolism, a process in which our body converts the food we eat into energy. Thyroid disorders affect millions worldwide and can have a profound impact on overall health and well-being. These conditions, including hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and autoimmune thyroid diseases, can significantly alter metabolism, mood, and physical function. The hormones T3 and T4 are important in regulating weight, energy levels, internal temperature, skin, hair, nail growth, metabolism, and overall health.

 



Understanding Thyroid Disorders

Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, leading to an overactive metabolism. Common symptoms include weight loss, rapid heartbeat, excessive sweating, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. The most common cause is Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder.

Hypothyroidism results from too little thyroid hormone production, which causes a slow metabolism. This can lead to weight gain, fatigue, depression, and cold intolerance. The primary cause is often Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, another autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland.

Autoimmune Thyroid Diseases such as Graves’ and Hashimoto’s involve the immune system mistakenly attacks thyroid tissue, leading to either overactive or underactive thyroid function.

 

Symptoms to Watch For

  • Hyperthyroidism: Weight loss, palpitations, increased anxiety, excessive sweating, and heat intolerance.

  • Hypothyroidism: Unexplained weight gain, tiredness, depression, muscle aches, and feeling cold.

  • Autoimmune: In addition to the above symptoms, depending on whether they cause hyper- or hypothyroidism, goitre may cause swelling in the neck.

 

Nutritional Strategies to Manage Thyroid Disorders

As one of the best nutritionists in Hyderabad, Deepika Chalasani focuses on dietary interventions to support thyroid function and manage symptoms. Here’s what she recommends:

  1. Optimise Iodine Intake: Iodine is crucial for thyroid hormone production. We ensure that our clients get adequate iodine from their diet, but not too much, as excess can also be harmful, especially in autoimmune thyroid diseases.

  2. Increase Selenium and Zinc: These trace minerals are essential for converting T4 to T3, the active form of thyroid hormone. Foods rich in selenium and zinc include Brazil nuts and pumpkin seeds.

  3. Boost Vitamin D and B12 Levels: Regular monitoring and supplementation, if necessary, can help maintain adequate levels of these vital nutrients. Both Vitamin D and B12 play a crucial role in thyroid function.

  4. Manage Goitrogens: Some foods, such as soy and cruciferous vegetables, can interfere with thyroid function. Cooking these foods can inactivate many of their goitrogenic compounds. We ensure that our clients get sufficient and balanced nutrients by closely monitoring their diet regimen.

  5. Anti-Inflammatory Foods: Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods like fatty fish, leafy greens, nuts, and olive oil can help reduce thyroid inflammation.

 

Weight Management with Thyroid Disorders

Weight management is a common concern for those with thyroid conditions, especially hypothyroidism. Here’s how we address this challenge:

  • Tailored Diet Plans: It is crucial to understand each client’s unique caloric needs and metabolic rate. We create personalised eating plans that support thyroid health and promote healthy weight.

  • Regular Physical Activity: Exercise can help boost metabolism and is essential for weight loss. We recommend a combination of aerobic exercises and strength training and guide our clients in achieving the maximum benefits of exercise.

  • Stress Management Techniques: Chronic stress can worsen thyroid disorders and make weight loss more difficult. We focus not only on the body but a combination of mind and body that gives the best results to our clients.

 

Conclusion

This Thyroid Day 2024, let’s focus on the holistic management of thyroid disorders by addressing dietary needs and lifestyle changes. Remember, each person’s journey with thyroid disease is unique, and treatment and management should be personalised to fit their specific needs.

 


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